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Posted Feb 10 2010 12:00am
Hi Dr. Ellie,

I just love your Zellies gum. I have a quick question. How long should xylitol stay on your teeth before you can brush your teeth? After eating meals, I chew a couple pieces of Zellies gum for about 30 minutes and then I brush my teeth. Is this enough time for the xylitol to help my teeth?

Thank you---K.W.

Hi KW,

Sorry to take so long to reply.

Xylitol will act quickly to help eradicate plaque and make it less adhesive - this is only one of xylitol's actions.

The second benefit of eating xylitol is that it stimulates a flow of alkaline mineral-rich saliva from special salivary glands ( in the roof of your mouth). This mineral-rich saliva will bathe your teeth with minerals and help repair and strengthen deep inside tooth enamel. Mineralization of enamel only occurs in an alkaline environment.

How long your mouth stays alkaline after a Zellies "bath" (the saliva that was stimulated by xylitol) depends on two factors that are personal to you.

These factors are:
-->How much mineral-rich alkaline saliva did you stimulate?
-->How acidic is your "regular" saliva - the normal saliva that comes into your mouth?
-->If you only stimulate a little "alkaline " saliva it will be gone quicker!
-->If your "normal" saliva is acidic it will "undo" or "dilute" the mineral-rich alkaline saliva: you will quickly be back to having an acidic mouth.
-->The more acidic your normal saliva - the more often you need Zellies to create a safe alkaline environment for teeth!

Young, healthy men usually have lots of alkaline saliva. Older, stressed women usually have acidic saliva! There is a lot of variation - and I discuss this in my book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye.

For women, it appears that small amounts of stress can make your mouth acidic - however, if you relax on the beach tomorrow - this may change to alkaline. This is why pH testing is interesting - to get a feel for where your mouth is most of the time and what activities change it!
One test is not enough - you need to see how situations and events alter your mouth pH.

So this is a complicated answer, and I do not know what to tell you - because I don't know either of these factors for YOU. It is possible you have an acidic mouth, so the benefits of the xylitol will be gone in half an hour.

If you are using my Complete Mouth Care Routine, we understand the problem and prevent any damage to teeth by starting out with a pH balanced mouth rinse called Closys.

Also, I do not suggest brushing more than twice a day - think about swishing water after meals and eat Zellies gum. Reserve your tooth brushing for twice a day - and look into my Complete routine of care - it is fantastic, easy and will make your mouth feel wonderful!

Best Wishes,


Ellie Phillips DDS
26 Corporate Woods
Rochester, NY 14623
(585) 272-1270
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